Top Careers For Finance Majors

  • Finance majors enjoy a wide range of interesting careers and opportunities.
  • This is a highly competitive field with a high salary potential for experienced professionals.
  • A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most jobs in the finance field.

Careers for finance majors are no longer limited to traditional banking and accounting roles. Today, career opportunities for finance majors span a diverse range of exciting and well-paying opportunities in the private and public sectors. No matter what your specific interests or level of education, there is a finance career that’s just the right fit for you.

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Broad Overview Of Career Paths For Finance Majors

The field of finance ranges from personal and corporate financial management to public and international financial management. Each of these requires its own set of skills and knowledge and each offers its own set of challenges and rewards. The best career path for you will depend on your personal preference and areas of interest. However, the career opportunities for finance majors are abundant.

  • A career in the personal finance field involves helping individuals manage their money and investments while reducing financial risks.
  • Corporate finance professionals help organizations of all sizes make sound business and financial decisions. They also offer advice related to equity structures, corporate taxation, and venture capital.
  • A career in public finance involves working with local, state, and national government agencies to advise on matters related to taxation, financial policy, and government budgets. Public finance professionals also help manage government revenues and expenditures and allocate resources for all types of public projects.
  • Professionals working in international finance have thorough knowledge of international markets and international financial regulations. They are employed by multinational corporations to help manage their international business exchanges and investments while ensuring that all dealings comply with the appropriate local and international laws and regulations.

Best Career Paths For Finance Majors Based On Income

We’ve put together the top 10 best careers for finance majors based on earning potential. Most finance-related jobs require a minimum bachelor’s degree for an entry-level position. As with most other career paths, the higher your education level, the higher your entry-level salary will be.

This data has been compiled from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Income shown in the list below is the average annual salary and the hourly salary as of 2022. The job outlook is projected for 10 years from 2022 to 2032.

1. Financial Analyst

  • Average annual pay: $96,220 
  • Average hourly pay: $46.26
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: 8% growth

This is the highest paying of all careers for finance majors. Financial analysts may work with individuals or businesses to analyze and evaluate opportunities and accordingly advise clients on investing money to generate profit.

As a financial analyst, you would spend most of your work hours studying financial and business trends and evaluating investment opportunities to help build your clients’ portfolios. A large part of your responsibilities would also include staying up to date on new policies and regulations and understanding economic trends and how these factors may affect your clients’ investments.

Financial analysts can choose to further specialize in niche fields such as fund managers, financial risk analysts, portfolio managers, investment analysts, securities analysts, and rating analysts.

Optional certifications: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification offered by the CFA Institute

2. Personal Financial Advisor

  • Average annual pay: $95,390
  • Average hourly pay: $45.86
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: Faster than average with 13% growth

There is a growing demand for personal financial advisors as can be seen by the faster-than-average projected job growth of 13% over 10 years. This is also the second highest paying of all careers for finance majors. If you love helping individuals manage their finances, this can be a challenging and exciting career path to consider.

In this role, you would spend most of your work hours meeting with clients to understand their financial circumstances and financial goals. Accordingly, you would offer advice related to investment opportunities as well as taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement or specific circumstances such as education. A large part of your job will involve educating clients about potential risks involved with any of the investment options.

Optional certifications: Certified Financial Planner (CFP) offered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

3. Project Management Specialist

  • Average annual pay: $95,370
  • Average hourly pay: $45.85
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: 6% growth

Project management specialists are responsible for completing projects for clients, from start to end. They create detailed plans keeping in mind the client’s budget, specifications, and schedule, and oversee a team of other professionals who work together to complete the project.

As a project management specialist, you will liaise with the client to determine their needs, review and select vendors, and assign duties to team members working on the project. Monitoring project costs and milestones and resolving problems are also part of your responsibility.

Optional certifications: Project Management Professional (PMP) offered by the Project Management Institute

4. Management Analyst

  • Average annual pay: $95,290
  • Average hourly pay: $45.81
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: Faster than average with 10% growth

Management analysts play a major role in helping organizations boost efficiency, productivity, and profitability. They are also known as management consultants.

The exact responsibilities of a management analyst vary considerably depending on the size and type of organization that requires their services. These professionals spent a lot of time gathering, organizing, and analyzing information and researching market trends. This helps them offer their client the best advice on how to improve efficiency, increase revenue, and reduce costs by implementing new procedures or systems.

Management analysts may be employed by an organization or they may be hired as consultants by organizations.  Some professionals in this role focus on specific industries such as telecommunications, healthcare, or transportation, while others may specialize in certain areas such as inventory control.

Optional certification: Certified Management Consultant offered by the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA).

5. Budget Analyst

  • Average annual pay: $82,260
  • Average hourly pay: $39.55
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: 3%

Budget analysts specialize in helping companies plan their finances and plan a practical budget. Their area of expertise lies in recommending whether to invest additional funds, redistribute available funds or cut expenditure on certain programs based on cost-benefit analyses. Budget analysts may be employed by private or public organizations, including universities and the government.

In this role, your responsibilities would involve reviewing budget proposals and funding requests to ensure they are accurate and meet legal requirements. You would also monitor the organization’s expenditures to ensure they are within budget, estimate future needs, and keep program managers up to date on funding availability.

Optional certifications: Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) credential from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA).

6. Financial Examiner

  • Average annual pay: $82,210
  • Average hourly pay: $39.52
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: Faster than average with 29% growth

Financial examiners are mostly employed by finance and insurance-related organizations, state governments, or the federal government. Their main responsibility is to ensure that the organization’s monetary transactions comply with the relevant laws and regulations.

Financial examiners spend most of their work day reviewing the organization’s operating income, expense accounts, balance sheets, assets, and liabilities. They prepared detailed reports highlighting their assessment of the company’s financial soundness.

To succeed in this role, you will have to continuously review and assess new regulations that come into effect and help organizations develop new policies and procedures that comply with the new regulations.

Financial examiners typically work in one of two main areas: risk assessment or consumer compliance.

Optional certification: Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE) and Certified Financial Examiner (CFE) offered by the Society of Financial Examiners (SOFE).

7. Accountant or Auditor

  • Average annual pay: $78,000
  • Average hourly pay: $37.50
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: 4%

Accountants and auditors are responsible for studying and analyzing financial statements and records to determine potential opportunities and risks. Based on their findings, they offer expert advice and solutions to help individuals and businesses manage their money more efficiently.

These professionals spend a major portion of their day inspecting account books, preparing financial statements, computing taxes, and preparing tax returns. They also ensure that their clients’ financial statements, tax payments, and other financial transactions are accurate and in compliance with current laws and regulations. When working with businesses, accountants and auditors also evaluate financial operations and offer advice on ways to enhance revenues and profits while reducing operating costs.

Accountants and auditors may do generalized work or they may do specialized work as government accountants, management accountants, public accountants, internal auditors, external auditors, or information technology (IT) auditors.

Optional certifications: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

8. Logistician

  • Average annual pay: $77,520
  • Average hourly pay: $37.27
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: Much faster than average with 18% growth

Logisticians specialize in financial activities related to a product’s life cycle, from how it is acquired to how it is allocated and finally how it is delivered. They oversee the purchase of materials and supplies, as well as their transportation, inventory, storage, and allocation. They also oversee delivery of the finished product to its final destination.

A large part of a logistician’s responsibilities involves reviewing an organization’s logistical operations, identifying areas for improvement, and recommending practical strategies to minimize the time and costs involved with acquiring, transporting and delivering goods. These professionals operate advanced software systems especially designed to manage and track logistical functions.

Optional certifications: Certifications offered by the Association for Supply Chain Management or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE).

9. Insurance Underwriter

  • Average annual pay: $76,230
  • Average hourly pay: $36.65
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: 2% decline in growth  

Insurance underwriters work with insurance companies to assess insurance applications and determine whether to approve or reject them. They also determine the amount of coverage and set the premiums for applications that are approved.

As an insurance underwriter, you will spend much of your work day analyzing the information on insurance applications. The main objective is to determine the potential risks of insuring a client, decide whether to offer insurance, and calculate appropriate premiums and coverage amounts. Most professionals use automated software to determine the risks.

Optional certifications: Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) or Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).

10. Market Research Analyst

  •  Average annual pay: $68,230
  • Average hourly pay: $32.80 
  • Job Outlook 2022-2023: Much faster than average with 13% growth

There is a growing demand for experienced market research analysts with a projected growth of 13% over 10 years. These professionals specialize in assessing sales potential of products and services after analyzing trends in consumer preferences and other business conditions.

Businesses of all sizes hire market research analysts to find out what products or services people are looking for and how much they are willing to pay for those products or services. The job involves a combination of collecting data directly by conducting surveys, opinion polls, and questionnaires and by poring over data related to sales and marketing trends, marketing conditions, and competitors. They prepare comprehensive reports based on their findings to present to clients so they can make strategic business decisions.

Optional certifications: IPC Principal and the IPC Masters offered by the Insights Association.

Best Colleges For Finance And Finance Management Majors

Your career in finance starts with earning a bachelor’s degree. We’ve put together the top 10 best colleges that offer undergrad degrees in finance and finance management services.

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. University of Notre Dame
  3. Boston College
  4. Villanova University
  5. Tulane University
  6. Bentley University
  7. Ohio State University-Main Campus
  8. Southern Methodist University
  9. University of Miami
  10. Miami University-Oxford
  11. See more great colleges for finance majors

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